Rape, and other sexual assault charges in Oregon

Oregon residents may find themselves charged with second- or third-degree sex crimes even if an alleged victim consented to the involved act or acts.

Sexual assault charges in Oregon are some of the most serious a person can face. There are significant institutional police and prosecutorial biases resulting in the acceptance without question of accusations of sexual assault. Potential clients charged with sexual assault immediately face significant challenges in securing their pretrial release, facing significant restrictions during any pre-trial release, complex evidentiary and discovery rules significantly restricting the scope of any defense investigation and defenses at trial. Simply being accused of such a crime can have lifelong and devastating effects on the accused and their family.

Sexual assault crimes in Oregon

Oregon law recognizes a variety of criminal sexual assaults. Broadly they can be broken down into two types: Forcible sexual assaults, and sexual assaults premised on a lack of consent. Oregon law recognizes different types of sexual assault as well including Rape, Sodomy, Unlawful Sexual Penetration and Sexual Abuse. All of which can be committed by force or through lack of consent.

Degrees of Sexual assault crimes in Oregon

Oregon law recognizes three degree of criminal sexual conduct. First-degree felony sexual offenses, the most serious, typically involve the use of force against the victim. First-degree offenses can also apply in cases of sexual assault against young children or against those who are incapable of giving legal consent due to "mental defect, mental incapacitation, or physical helplessness." All first-degree felony sexual offenses are considered Measure 11 offenses and carry significant pre-trial bail requirements as well as mandatory minimum prison sentences if convicted. More on Measure 11 here.

Second-degree felony sexual offenses typically involve offenses where the accuser is between 12 and 14 years of age, and/or lack the component of force required to bring First degree charges, and/or lack significant mental or physical incapacitation of the accuser. Most but not all second degree sexual assaults are Measure 11 offense.

Finally, third-degree felony sexual offenses typically involve otherwise consensual sexual acts committed against children under 16 years of age. These cases often have a perfect legal defense available if the accused is within three years of age of the accuser. No third-degree offenses are currently subject to Measure 11.

What should I do if accused of a sex crime?

The first thing that you must do is contact and retain an experienced criminal defense attorney. Even if you are ultimately found not guilty, even proven innocent, you may face an extended period of pre-trial incarceration, significant bail requirements and other restrictions on your freedom while your case is pending, and other collateral consequences such as job loss and damage to your reputation in the community.

If ultimately convicted, the conviction will have sever life-long repercussion, the most significant beyond any jail or prison time imposed is that most felony sexual offense convictions now carry with them the requirement that the person register as a sex offender for the rest of their life.

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